Many of us will gather tonight with friends and family to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new. Some of you say, “Good riddance! I’m glad to see 2015 go.” In some ways I agree, 2015 had some rough spots, but let’s not be too hasty and count it all as loss. 

I fear too often, we buy into the world’s estimation that ‘old’ means obsolete, used up, worn out, and useless—like those who roll their eyes if you don’t have the latest I-phone, or want to sing a song that’s been out for more than two years. Just as the velveteen rabbit discovered, some things actually increase in value as they age.*
Don’t most children have a favorite ‘blankie’ or stuffed animal they sleep with that comforts them better than a new one could? Antiques are appraised higher than new furniture. Artwork, coins, documents written by our founding fathers, war relics, and signed first editions also gain value with age. And who could put a price on fond childhood memories, a lifelong marriage partner, or old friends?
On the other hand, there are a lot of things that aren’t worth hanging onto: used tea bags and coffee filters, empty toothpaste tubes, outdated clothes that don’t fit, and spices five years past their expiration date (not to mention the secret things growing in the refrigerator). Plus, if we start looking inside ourselves, we might find a bit of housecleaning to be done there as well. Bad habits, attitudes, grudges, lingering self-pity, and worn out excuses all need to be tossed.
As you take stock of 2015 and ring in 2016, I’d like you to consider these four questions.
1.      What old things am I thankful for from last year? (people, things, growth opportunities)
2.      What do I need to get rid of from the past? (habits, unhealthy relationships, rebellion)
3.      What new things would God have me pursue this year? (friendships, serving others, self-control)
4.      What new things am I better off without? (stuff, time wasters, impediments)
The following verses might help you answer:
“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you” (Deut. 32:7).
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good” (Psa. 25:5-7).

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isa. 43:18-19).
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
And for those of you who would like a little New Year’s Bible study, here are just a few things God offers for the year to come with eternal value:
Song—Psa. 40:1-3
Heart and Spirit—Eze. 11:19
Mercy—Lam 3:22-23
Love—Jn. 13:34-35
You—2 Cor. 5:17
Attitude—Ephesians 4:22-24
Hope—1 Pet. 1:3-4
Productivity—Psa. 92:12-15
Comfort—Psa. 119:52
Boundaries—Prov. 22:28
Faithfulness—Isa. 64:4
Sustenance—Isa. 46:3-4
Restored—Isa. 58:11-12
Paths—Jer. 6:16
Wisdom—Mat. 13:47-52
Faith—Heb. 11:1-2
Happy New Year to you all! May God bless you richly in body, soul, and spirit.
*The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams